14 signature European wineries, designed by great architects

From Foster to Nouvel, Calatrava to Hadid, a review of excellent projects that make a home for some of the most celebrated wines on the planet.

September is the time of the grape harvest, of ferment in the cellar and of a myriad of events that attract enthusiasts, the curious or simply enjoyers, who can’t wait to pay homage to the God Bacchus by being pleasantly pampered between tastings and aperitifs.

If this ‘flâneur of the vines’ attitude then transcends the mere organoleptic experience and is also associated with the desire to visit contemporary architectures designed by great masters, the agenda for the September weekend begins to get busy.

Where the Mediterranean sun kisses the earth and sweetens the grapes, bucolic landscapes dotted with vineyards envelop the cellars of more or less famous wineries that make wine production not only a job but also a cultural mission: that of transmitting the values of ancestral knowledge, reconciling them with technological innovation and the promotion of the territory, by commissioning their ‘wine cathedrals’ from authoritative names.

Thus from Rioja, to Bordeaux, to Maremma, to Chianti, from mimetic constructions that literally vanish into the landscape (Archea associati) or conform to it (Botta, Pomodoro, Foster + Partners), to sculptures that stand as a markedly recognisable landmark (Calatrava, Gehry, Hadid, Sartogo, Portzamparc, Baggio Piechaud, Nouvel), to works that are overtly functional (Foster + Partners, Siza) and with a definite industrial language (RPB workshop), the cellars are an expression of culture and strategic marketing, reminding us that an ‘emotional’ connection between architecture and wine is not so singular: for just as architecture is ‘constructed’ poetry, so wine – as Stevenson said – ‘is poetry in a bottle’.

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